At this point in the season, teams mostly know who they are and if they will try to buy or sell at the trade deadline. In terms of the Los Angeles Angels and the players they will target, they will mostly be looking at pitchers. The team is in a spot to finally return to the postseason, and they have few prospects who don’t have a place on the major league team. All of these things seem to be aligned for the Angels. Luckily, a few names should be available for them to add as the deadline approaches. Here are a few pitchers the Angels could potentially target via trade.
Pitchers Who Are Potential Trade Targets for the Angels
The Chicago White Sox have been an absolute disappointment. They currently sit in third place in the AL Central, 4 1/2 games out of first. With the Central collectively struggling as it is, there is an outside chance that the White Sox hold on to most of their players and try to make a run. However, this might be an unrealistic thought. The team has many contracts that are expiring this year or next year. Lucas Giolito is a free agent at season’s end and they could make a move to get something besides another draft pick.
Starting pitching has been an issue this season for the Angels. Tyler Anderson has been a disaster up to this point. Not that Anderson is the only issue for the rotation, guys are underperforming and struggling with the pitch clock. If they want to make a run into the postseason, Lucas Giolito might be a guy who they could add. Giolito has postseason experience, which this Angels team lacks basically across the board. His 3.54 ERA would be the second lowest on the team if he were to join. The addition of Giolito would be a welcome one.
Giolito’s price could be a steep one. What sort of package could head back to Chicago in this deal is a shot in the dark. Jo Adell is a trade chip who’s a candidate to be heading back in any deal. In fact, he might be the most significant piece in any deal. In years prior, this might have seemed impossible. However, with other players beginning to show promise, Adell and maybe a few other prospects could be enough to land Giolito. The only real issue will be if the Angels want to take a chance on a rental player. Probably not. It’s a hard ask to give up a ton of talent for a few months of one pitcher. If the Angels were more able to lose big pieces, this deal might be a bit more possible. However, in this situation, it may be asking too much.
Shane Bieber might be the most exciting name on the trading block. He is arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2024. This fact alone gives him more value. Getting an extra year of control would be a big plus. In 13 games started this season, Bieber is 4-3 with a 3.57 ERA (4.05 FIP), 1.28 WHIP, 22 walks, and 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings pitched. He is only 3 years removed from his 2020 Cy Young Award-winning season. Bieber’s upside is still there, still showing that he can be an ace for a team, even more so for a team like the Angels that might be losing their ace at the end of the season. Bieber brushed off the trade rumors surrounding him on Sunday, but he remains a potential trade target for several teams, including the Angels.
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) June 11, 2023
The Cleveland Guardians are in a similar situation to the White Sox, as the division they both play in is incredibly weak. They still could be in play for the division crown if they hold the team together. Cleveland sits 1 1/2 games back in the Central, so they could decide to keep the team together and even add to it. The team has some pieces to it during the offseason to help the lineup this year. With all of this in mind, it might be a spot to see how things play out. Bieber has a year left of control, so they might not be inclined to make any kind of move to ruin their chances this year or rebuild later on.
Bieber might take less to get despite having more control left on his contract. His strikeout rate has plummeted to a career-low 16.3 percent, and his fastball velocity has steadily dropped from 94.1 mph during the 2020 season to just 91.2 mph this year. All of this could lead to a less-than-stellar return. Bieber’s fate might depend on if the Guardians want to pursue an extension with him. If they still see him as the top pitcher in their rotation, they’ll likely keep him. Otherwise, a trade return might be worth it, no matter how small.
Money Friendly Players
Other names not as notable could help push the Angels over the top in the AL West. A couple of them are former Angels that could return to the team for a playoff run. Michael Lorenzen of the Detroit Tigers is one of these names. Last year, he put up a 4.24 ERA in the Angels rotation. He has an $8.5 million deal with Detroit this year, and his 2-3 record, 3.75 ERA (4.02 FIP), 1.02 WHIP, 13 walks, and 44 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched is a solid line for a back-end rotation guy on a hungry playoff-seeking team. Lorenzen misses a lot of bats with his stuff. His 1.02 WHIP is 10th among pitchers who have pitched at least 60 innings. That, along with his 5 quality starts in his 10 starts, are excellent stats to have on a team looking to sell.
Alex Cobb has succeeded over the past couple of seasons with the San Francisco Giants. Even though he is 35 years old, he has been a rock in the rotation, pitching to an ERA of 3.01 in 13 starts, with six of those being quality starts. Like Lorenzen, Cobb could be a back-end piece that bolsters the Angels as the playoffs get closer. Cobb’s $10 million deal is cheap enough that the Angels might want a reunion with the starter. He made $15 million with the Angels in 2021, pitching to a record of 8-3 and a 3.76 ERA. It could be a worthwhile trade if the Giants do sell.
Rest of the West Looking to Buy
Any trade that may or may not happen could take some time. In a division with the Houston Astros and upstart Texas Rangers, there could be competition getting pitchers. The Rangers lost Jacob deGrom to Tommy John surgery, so they could look to add a front-end starter for the stretch run. Houston lost ace Justin Verlander to the New York Mets. They have already been linked to a few starters. The division will be tough going forward. Not overpaying for the wrong guy is paramount. Getting another starting pitcher is a significant key for the Angels to get back into the postseason, but not overpaying for a short-term rental is even more critical.
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